Label-free single-molecule detection of DNA-hybridization kinetics with a carbon nanotube field-effect transistor

Department of Electrical Engineering, Columbia University, New York, New York 10027, USA.
Nature Nanotechnology (Impact Factor: 34.05). 02/2011; 6(2):126-32. DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2010.275
Source: PubMed


Single-molecule measurements of biomolecules can provide information about the molecular interactions and kinetics that are hidden in ensemble measurements. However, there is a requirement for techniques with improved sensitivity and time resolution for use in exploring biomolecular systems with fast dynamics. Here, we report the detection of DNA hybridization at the single-molecule level using a carbon nanotube field-effect transistor. By covalently attaching a single-stranded probe DNA sequence to a point defect in a carbon nanotube, we are able to measure two-level fluctuations in the conductance of the nanotube in the presence of a complementary DNA target. The kinetics of the system are studied as a function of temperature, allowing the measurement of rate constants, melting curves and activation energies for different sequences and target concentrations. The kinetics demonstrate non-Arrhenius behaviour, in agreement with DNA hybridization experiments using fluorescence correlation spectroscopy. This technique is label-free and could be used to probe single-molecule dynamics at microsecond timescales.

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    • "DNA biosensors are sensing devices that consist of oligonucleotide of DNA as biological recognition elements and incorporated with physiochemical transducer for converting DNA hybridization events into a useful analytical signal [9]. Several types of transducers for detecting DNA hybridization events have been reported such as the electrochemical transducer [10] [11] optical transducer [12] [13] piezoelectric transducer [14] and electrical transducer [15]. Electrochemical sensor has been gaining attraction in the diagnostic detection because of not only offering many benefits, including low cost of production, simplicity of protocol, portable, sensitivity and selectivity, and easily integrated and miniaturization but also can convert the hybridization event into a direct electrical signal [16] [17]. "
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